Sunday, July 12, 2009


The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the city of New Haven, Connecticut, was wrong

when it threw out a promotional examination for firefighters. The city was afraid of being

sued because not a single minority scored high enough to be promoted. They were following

Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act which stated that if you give a test which has a negative effect

on a minority group, the test is de facto discriminatory. This was a bad law. This was a law

demanding equal outcomes rather than equal opportunity. No one who took that test has

claimed it was biased or inappropriate or skewed in any way. The only claim was that

minority applicants did not do well enough. Maybe for the first time in my life I sided

with Scalia and Thomas in defending the test and the promotion of the white firefighters

who passed it.

The city of Oakland, California is considering raising taxes on medical marijuana

dispensaries to raise revenue for the city. The operators of the pot clubs were the ones

who suggested raising the tax. At the same time 60 Minutes reported that Mexican drug

cartels have made 35 billion dollars from the drug trade and use the money to pay for

arms and a small army to fight the Mexican and American governments. California is

considering legalizing and taxing marijuana, which could generate more than one billion

dollars in new tax revenue. For the first time polls show 50% of people in California favor

legalization. If California legalizes marijuana, it will have a domino effect across the nation.

What would the cartels do for money if American corporations ran the drug trade? Oh,

by the way, one of the biggest opponents of legalization is the association which represents

drug enforcement officers. Do you see any conflict of interest there?

June 30th is a new national holiday in Iraq. It is National Sovereignty Day. It is

the day the U.S. troops moved out of the Iraqi cities and turned over security to Iraqi

security forces. No one has any idea whether Iraqi security forces can maintain the uneasy

peace. Almost 5000 Americans died and more than 100,000 were wounded, and as many

as 1 million Iraqis are dead to get to this day. Is there anyone wiling to argue that it was

worth it? Oh, by the way, as many as 50 oil companies are bidding to get back into the Iraqi

oil fields after having been kicked out in 1972 by Saddam Hussein. There is no agreement

in place as to how oil revenues will be shared. Was this what it was all about from the


South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, on more than one occasion, left the state

without telling anyone where he was, and failing to transfer power to the Lt. Governor.

His last disappearance was to "hike the Appalachian Trail", or rather to visit his mistress

in Argentina. This is the governor who refused federal bailout money for his state, claiming

that to accept the funds would be fiscally irresponsible. While the money would have gone

to schools and teachers, Sanford claimed it would be wrong to take it (many think this was

a ploy to build an image for a White House run). At the same time, he had traveled using

public funds on a trade mission to Argentina to see his mistress. He now says he will pay

that money back. His wife revealed that during months of marriage counseling, he asked

her a number of times if he could visit his mistress, and his wife said no (interesting marriage

counseling sessions). Now we find Republican stalwarts like Senator Lindsey Graham and

Rudy Giuliani saying Sanford should not resign if he can work out his marriage difficulties

with his wife. While I hope the Sanford's can save their marriage (in fact, I hope it is

stronger in the end than it is now), what on earth does his marriage have to do with whether

he resigns or not? Bill Clinton is still married to Hillary, and yet these same people called

for his resignation and voted to impeach him. What am I missing?

Speaking of hypocrisy and double standards, Nevada Senator John Ensign is a

member of Promise Keepers. It's an all men's Christian organization that encourages men

to be good husbands and to take the naturally dominant male role in marriage. He called

on Idaho Senator Larry Craig to resign when he was caught up in a gay sex scandal; he

called for Bill Clinton to resign after the Monica Lewinsky scandal was revealed; but since

it was revealed that he himself had an affair with a married woman who worked for him,

Senator Ensign has vowed to stay in office. Louisiana Senator David Vitter is one of Ensign's

most vigorous defenders. Is consistency still the hobgoblin of little minds?

When Senator John Kerry ran against George Bush in 2004, he was pilloried by

Bush/Cheney for voting against an $86 billion appropriation for the war in Iraq. Actually,

Kerry voted against it because it was a supplemental emergency appropriation, by-passing

the budget process. He eventually voted for the money, but was pounded relentlessly for

"not supporting the troops". Recently, the House passed a $106 billion appropriation for

the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; and the majority of the Republicans voted against it. They

didn't like the fact that it included money for the International Monetary Fund. Republicans

bristled at charges that their vote showed that they don't support our troops and put them

in harms way. What do you think Hannity/Limbaugh et. al. will do to them over that vote?

Is pragmatist a dirty word? President Obama is being described more and more

as a pragmatist. His tendency is to avoid ideology to get things done. He understands the

first lesson of politics; namely, half a loaf is better than none. This pragmatic bent has led

him to offend and disappoint much of his base. He has refused to end "Don't ask don't tell"

in the military services; and last week submitted a Friend of the Court brief to the Federal

Court defending the "Defense of Marriage Act" which prohibits gays from getting married.

He has refused to release torture pictures or to support investigation of illegal

activities in the Bush White House. He continues to use "national security" as an excuse

not to release more information on everything from illegal spying to warrantless wire-

tapping; and now the White House has refused to release visitor logs concerning who has

been coming to the White House for meetings (sound familiar?). He did not fight for

homeowners facing foreclosure who could have been protected in bankruptcy court; and

he has committed the nation to a war in Afghanistan that is not winnable. Is pragmatism

a good thing or a bad thing? What do you think? I welcome your comments or rebuttals.

Please send them to

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